Since 9/11, when Sikhs again and very visibly became targets of deadly racism due to unique cultural and faith identities (including turbans, long unshorn hair, beards), the community organized to create powerful civil rights organizations and initiatives. But issues of gender-based violence were further forced into the shadows. The external racist threats had put the health and wellbeing of women and sexual minorities on hold, yet again, — and few, if any, organizations actively addressed these matters within the Sikh community.
It was in this environment that Sikh Family Center first launched in 2009 and began making the case that our immigrant community, too, needed specific, linguistically accessible, and culturally aware prevention & intervention services. Today, Sikh Family Center is the only professional organization in the U.S. focused on addressing gender-based violence in the Sikh American community. Through grassroots activism and community-based solutions, we provide intervention, violence prevention, and education services, while paying particular attention to the cultural background and immigration experience of the people we serve.
Up until 2017, Sikh Family Center was entirely volunteer-run. We believe in the power of community organizing and we do not wish to ‘professionalize’ services to the detriment of our grassroots base. But, we also recognized the need for organizational growth and sustainability and have prioritized incorporating paid staff in our model, including an Executive Director with decades of experience in the gender justice movement.
(Please note “Sikh” refers to a faith-community, but we are not a “Religious” organization, as understood in western culture. Sikhs are a people, a culture, and Sikh Family Center reflects and serves a very diverse community. Our services never discriminate on the basis of perceived or actual religiosity, or against people of any or no faith.)
In striving for equity, Sikh Family Center actively opposes discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), gender, gender expression, formal education, immigration status, age, national origin (ancestry), caste, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.